Soon after Brittanee Drexel disappeared in Myrtle Beach late last month, pleas to find her went out nationwide.

While her picture was shown on televisions across the country, nonprofit groups from as far as Texas descended on South Carolina, where the 17-year-old from Rochester, N.Y., was last seen the night of April 25.

She was on vacation with friends when she walked out of a hotel and hasn’t been seen since.

One of the nonprofits trying to find Drexel is the Wilmington-based Cue Center For Missing Persons, which joined the search late last week.

While some nonprofits worked with Drexel’s family to make posters, CUE volunteers went where not everyone could, said Dawn Davis of the Laura Recovery Center, in Friendswood, Texas. That nonprofit group, which helps find missing children, was enlisted by Drexel’s family, Davis said.

On May 1 and 2, CUE volunteers searched a large swath of snake- and alligator-infested land looking for either Drexel or her pink cell phone, said CUE founder Monica Caison.

With more searching expected, the CUE center has asked for help from anyone who has a mounted horse search team.

Although cadaver searches are part of the overall effort, Caison said she hasn’t given up hope of finding Brittanee alive.

On Saturday, April 25, at about 8:45 p.m., Brittanee was seen leaving the Blue Water Resort on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach. A friend reported her missing to police the next day.

The Myrtle Beach Police Department assigned multiple investigators and officers to the case, who interviewed friends of Brittanee’s and other witnesses, according to a statement from the agency.

On Friday, Capt. David Knipes asked anyone who has seen Brittanee to call police at 843-918-1963.

Renee Friedman, a family friend, said Brittanee was last seen wearing black shorts, silver sandals and carrying a beige purse.

She is pretty girl, Friedman said, who has many friends and loves soccer. In an incident report, police say Brittanee suffers from depression.

But Davis, of the Laura Recovery Center, said Brittanee’s family doesn’t believe she would have just walked away.

“She was too actively involved with her friends, and she knew she had people that support and love her,” Davis said. “I really feel like she needs us to be the eyes and ears looking for her.”

Friedman said the number of people who have tried to help find Brittanee is amazing.

More than 12,000 people have joined a Facebook page dedicated to finding Brittanee, Friedman said.

In South Carolina, the search has taken many forms – everything from posters and phone calls to pizza deliverers who bring Brittanee’s description to doorsteps.

Caison said the CUE Center joined the effort after receiving a call from the Myrtle Beach Police Department April 30.

Over the next two days CUE volunteers covered a span starting 5.5 miles north of the North Santee River bridge to 3.2 miles south, Caison said.

The area is near Georgetown, S.C., 40 miles south of Myrtle Beach.

Friedman said searchers headed south because a signal from Brittanee’s cell phone was picked up in the area soon after she disappeared.

Caison described the search area as wooded and marshy. Shooters were enlisted to protect the search dogs from snakes, alligators and wild boar, she said.

After several days of searching, CUE volunteers spent much of the rest of the week knocking on doors in rural communities off U.S 17.

Friedman said the Laura Recovery Center, the CUE Center and Myrtle Beach police are trying everything to find Brittanee.

The current challenge, Caison said, is getting the people who live in the area involved. “She is from up north, and she’s missing from Myrtle Beach,” Caison said. “Now we’re trying to rally a community that has nothing to do with this case.”

source

Advertisements